Why Do My Yellow Tangs Keep Dying? (8 Ways to Avoid It)

Captive breded Yellow tang

Yellow tangs are a saltwater fish species whose popularity increases with every sunrise. They are common in aquariums because of their outstanding color and personality. Kids and adults love yellow tangs because they are not hard to keep. If you love tangs, yellow tangs will be a favorite.

Yellow tangs are almost as popular as clownfish in the aquarium trade. They are colorful and exhilarating to watch. Yellow tangs have fan-like dorsal and anal fins, which gives them a flashy appearance. I haven’t come across a child or adult who doesn’t love yellow tangs.

If not well-cared for, yellow tangs can die unexpectedly. Unfortunately, some conditions may not allow you enough time to make changes. Does that mean yellow tangs are a delicate fish species?

How Hardy are Yellow Tangs?

Yellow tangs are a hardy fish species. That is if you get the conditions right. Apart from feeding the fish, you have to consider the size of the fish tank in relation to the number of fish you keep in there.

Other than that, yellow tangs are as hardy as they come. They are undemanding and do not require too much attention to thrive.

I have had two yellow tangs in my home aquarium for over five years. All they need is a bit of my attention every day. (I also don’t have to get a sitter).

Honestly, they are my favorite since I have kept goldfish before, and they died almost as soon as I got them.  

Can I Tell if There’s Something is Wrong with My Yellow Tangs?

Yes. If you spend enough time around your yellow tangs, you will definitely notice some changes. Firstly, your yellow tangs will start acting abnormal.

Watch out for signs like tangs sulking in the corner of the fish tank. Moreover, the fecal color will change to white and slimy.

Usually, yellow tangs come to the upper parts of the tank during the day. You’ll see them happily grazing for algae and displaying their strikingly beautiful yellow color.

Anything that indicates that your yellow tang is unhappy is a cause for alarm.

What is Safe to Feed My Yellow Tang?

In the wild, yellow tangs thrive on algae. Since we are talking about yellow tangs in an aquarium, you can feed them dry fish flakes, pellets, or live food. Throw in some seaweed and or algae. After all, some green will do them good. 

In fact, the best thing to do would be to try growing macroalgae in your fish tank. Not only will the algae provide a constant supply of food for your yellow tangs, but it will also be perfect for biological filtration.

Yellow tangs are primarily herbivores. However, they don’t mind a bit of meat-based foods now and then.

How Often Should I Feed My Yellow Tang?

This is a genuine concern since feeding the right food is not enough if your fish is not getting as much as they need.

At the same time, overfeeding your yellow tangs is not a good thing. Ensure you provide food daily and enough to last them up to six hours.

Since yellow tangs are grazers, they will appreciate finding food to nibble on around the tank (like they do with algae in the wild).

The much you feed at one go depends on the number of fish in the tank. If there’s more than one, ensure there is enough for each of them.  

How Do You Keep Yellow Tangs Healthy?

It is wrong to assume that a well-balanced diet is all you need to focus on when caring for yellow tangs. In addition to a balanced diet, this fish species needs adequate space.

An adult yellow tang grows to about eight inches, although males are larger than females. That aside, a suitable fish tank for yellow tangs must be above 90 gallons and a minimum of about 50 gallons.

Yellow tangs need plenty of swimming space to graze, explore and forage without obstructions. Additionally, ensure the fish tank is cycled.

Many hobbyists report yellow tangs gasping for air and even dying due to lack of oxygen. A good flow of water ensures there is enough oxygen in the water.

What Diseases Affect Yellow Tangs?

I mentioned that yellow tangs are hardy, right? That does not mean that they are immortal. Yellow tangs are susceptible to saltwater ich diseases, both whitespot and blackspot.

Also, some yellow tangs suffer from head and lateral line erosion (HLLE). Once you notice these infections, separate your infected fish from the rest.

I always have an extra fish tank to act as a sick bay when I notice any issues with my fish. An important thing to note is that most of these diseases result from stress.

Always make sure your yellow tangs are as comfortable as possible. Besides, initially retaining them in a quarantined area before introduction to the main fish tank prevents the spread of any disease.

How are Yellow Tang Diseases Treated?

Whenever you notice any signs of infection or illness, it is vital to seek the advice of a vet. Some diseases go away with good nutrition.

Others call for the use of antibiotics, while the rest involve water changes. Some people advise against using copper because it is toxic to the natural fauna present in the tangs’ digestive tracts.

Prevention is better than cure. So, ensure you get the feeding and maintenance practices right to avoid issues arising from poor care.

Also, do not home-treat your yellow tangs without getting a professional diagnosis.

What is the Life Expectancy of a Yellow Tang?

You will be pleased to learn that yellow tangs can live 40 years or longer. If yours dies any sooner, you need to recheck the tank conditions and feeding.

Most fishes live long, happy lives. It is up to you to ensure that happens. Yellow tangs can become family pets, passed on from one generation to the next.

If you love yellow tangs as I do, you will ensure your fish buddy lives to their maximum, having received all the love and care possible.

Keeping Yellow Tangs Alive – Final Thoughts

We have established that yellow tangs are hardier than most domesticated fish species. However, there are proper ways to care for them to ensure they live for as long as possible.

Each fish species is unique and yellow tangs are not an exception. They do not demand much except enough food, good swimming conditions and a visit from you once in a while. Yellow tangs need enough space in the fish tank to swim around and graze.

Any poor conditions will lead to death because of stress. Remember, yellow tangs are not sensitive. So, a little care goes a long way. If your yellow tangs keep dying, you need to start everything afresh and seek the intervention of a professional.


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